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Edited by Barney Warf
The Competitiveness Challenge for Secondary Capitals
From Research to Practice
Edited by Nicola F. Dotti
B. Guy Peters
Making public policy is difficult. Richard Coyne (2005) argues that confronting ill-defined and awkward problems that are, in essence, wicked problems is the norm for policymaking, and that being able to deal with well-defined and rational policymaking is the exception. If that is at all an accurate depiction of the nature of contemporary policymaking then we need to invest heavily in understanding these problems if we are going to be able to cope with policy design, whether as academics or as practitioners. The preceding chapter provided a discussion of policy problems from a somewhat general perspective. In this chapter I will focus on a particular class of problems that have been referred to as “wicked”, “messy”, “complex”, or “intractable”. While, as Coyne points out, decision-makers should be careful in expecting any policy problem to be simple, or “tame”, clearly some problems are still more difficult than others. While many of the same principles of design may be applied to wicked problems, they also require some very careful attention and differentiated strategies if policy designers are to be effective in coping with them.
Chan S. Jung
This chapter examines whether the framework suggested and empirically validated with U.S. federal programs in Chapter 8 is valid in different contexts. Two quantitative analyses are conducted in the contexts of South Korean central government agencies and English local government authorities. They commonly demonstrate that goal ambiguity mediates the relationships of management capacity, organizational size, and work complexity with performance. Furthermore, the South Korean case additionally offers evidence supporting the mediated-moderation relationship, in which higher political insulation enhances the negative effect of management capacity on goal ambiguity, which in turn relates negatively to performance. The English case does not validate the moderation effect of political insulation.
Chan S. Jung
There was at least a thirty-year gap between the beginning of anecdotal and theoretical arguments and the beginning of quantitative research, regarding predictors of goal ambiguity. There could be diverse reasons for such a long time difference. This chapter briefly discusses complications for goal ambiguity research in public organizations. Then it provides a broad and thorough literature review of empirical goal ambiguity studies in public management and policy. The review is systematically divided into public–private comparison, predictors, consequences, and mediation effects of goal ambiguity. Most of the quantitative studies were about organizational goal ambiguity. After the literature review, the need for program goal ambiguity research is discussed, followed by conceptual and methodological issues for the program-level research.